4. Azienda Agricola Valentini, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo
Grape variety: Trebbiano
Classification: Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC
Average price per bottle: £47
Poor, unloved Trebbiano. “Bland”, “boring”, “good only for use in distillation”, it does come in for a hard time.
As ever though, when given a little attention and patience it can prove itself capable of greater things, and this is was no more aptly demonstrated than by the late Edoardo Valentini, widely regarded in his day as Abruzzo’s best winemaker.
Since 2006 the torch has been taken on by his son, Francesco Paolo, and with similarly enthusiastic reviews.
The first “Best Italian Wine Awards” held in Milan last year, named the 2007 the overall winner.
Sassicaia came third while Zidarich’s Vitovska and Villa Bucci’s Verdicchio, already mentioned in this list, came 19th and 32nd respectively out of the 160-strong shortlist.
Valentini’s Trebbiano turns all preconceptions about this grape on their heads. Apparently capable of ageing for 25 years and unexpectedly complex, it is produced in miniscule quantities.
It is said that stockists have to take a lot of olive oil if they want to get their hands on even a few bottles.
Galloni described the 2005 (92 points) in 2010 as having ripe apricots, flowers and peaches on the palate, and that it was “rich and enveloping”.
He scored the 2008 and 2004 with 92 and 90 points respectively.
Robinson added that the 2003 (17 points) would need a careful food match to counter the, “twangy fruit” and background acidity.
On a related red note, the Montepulciano, of which only some 4,000 bottles are produced a year is also meant to be wonderful.